Bassam is a telephone repairman living in Cleveland, who returns home to Ramallah to find a Palestine bride. His family introduces him to 25-year-old Mariam, and a marriage is arranged two weeks later. After her new husband has returned to the United States, Mariam lives with his family while waiting for her visa. But violence erupts in the Palestine Territories, while Mariam waits impatiently in the middle of a war zone. Eventually the visa is issued, but life in America is not what Mariam imagined.
 

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First came the wedding. Then came the war.

A Wedding in Ramallah is a feature documentary by Sherine Samana about a Palestinian American Bassam who returns to his homeland after a failed marriage in America to a marriage arranged by his parents. The girl is Mariam, a twenty six year old and the parents are only too happy to see their daughter settled in life. Once the marriage is over Bassam has to go back to work in America, leaving Mariam behind until she can get her American visa. The film then focuses on life with Mariam and her sister-in-law Sinora whose husband Moussa is also in America working as they fill the days in the home of their in-laws. A Wedding in Ramallah is insightful into everyday life in Palestine, it doesn`t focus on the political troubles but they`re there in the background. What emerges is quite a sad experience. Bassam seems to be a chronically depressed person, and the two women are dependent on the moods and movements of their husbands for their sense of self. Sinora gets into terrible trouble for buying a mobile phone without asking permission. When Mariam eventually gets to America her life there seems much less rich than the one she left behind. There`s one gorgeous moment in the film where Mariam, in Arabic, describes the filmmaker as `such a slut` to Sinora. As an insight into other lives, and the lives of women particularly, A Wedding in Ramallah is a cause for celebration.

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1 hour 30 min

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